Not eating enough fruit, vegetables and dairy products? You may be missing out on important nutrients, writes dietitian Susan Bowerman

Many of us are eating too many kilojoules from foods that are loaded down with fats and sugar but lack important vitamins and minerals.

At the same time, we’re not eating enough fruit and vegetables, which are some of the richest sources of vitamins and minerals. And, because many of us don’t consume enough dairy products, it’s tough to meet needs for calcium and vitamin D.

So, it should come as no surprise that the vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in many diets are the same ones that are abundant in fruits, veggies and dairy products.

Are you eating enough to meet your needs for these five nutrients?

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Folic acid

Folic acid – or folate, which is the form in which it exists in foods – is one of eight B-vitamins that are needed for the manufacture and maintenance of cells, particularly during periods of rapid cell growth. This is why it is so important that women consume adequate amounts both before and during pregnancy.

Folic acid is also used to manufacture genetic material, as well as red blood cells, which help carry oxygen throughout the body.

Where you find it: The words folic acid and folate derive from the Latin word folium, which means leaf, and for a good reason. This vitamin is abundant in green leafy vegetables. You can also find folate in asparagus, broccoli, avocado and citrus fruits, as well as nuts and beans.

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.